Summer has finally arrived in Wisconsin, and we know it won’t last long. How many times have you said, “Where has the summer gone?”
While we are all dealing with uncertainty, one thing I know for sure… this summer won’t be typical. Summer camps and sporting events have been cancelled, and vacation plans are postponed.
But there’s a bigger question than “What are we going to do this summer?” now that all your typical outings are off the table. The more important question right now is:
“What do I need this summer?”
Give yourself a moment to think about it. And dig deep to get to the true need.
For example, when I reflect on this question my first thought is, “I need the girls to go to their summer activities!” Digging a little deeper, I realize what I really need is time to myself. I’m an introvert, and as much as I love spending time with my two favorite people, I also need time alone (having them at home 24/7 with our 90-pound foster dog, Sirius, has just about put me over the edge some days!).
That’s the true need. Sending the girls to activities is one way of getting that need met, but certainly not the only way.
This is also not a typical summer. Social distancing has changed the way we interact everywhere. We are also dealing with complicated race relations, protests and police brutality.
What do I need here? To be honest, I’m still trying to figure that out. My heart hurts when I hear these stories, and I want to figure out how I can make a difference and not be a silent bystander. I need to figure out how to have conversations about this with my girls. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but right now, I need the time to process and better understand what I want to do here.
While it might be tough to imagine ways to meet your needs, don’t worry about how just yet. Just allow yourself to get clarity on what you need. And how you can share that need with others. That will make the how easier.
Time for a conversation
The Thoughtfully Fit practice of BALANCE is all about achieving alignment in your relationships by balancing what you need with what other people need. That requires the COURAGE to state what you need, the COMPASSION to state it in a way that can be heard, and the CURIOSITY to understand what other people need.
So as this anything-but-typical-summer begins, I challenge you to find the courage to have conversations with your family and co-workers about what you need and the compassion and curiosity to understand what they need. From there, you can work to find alignment and a balanced solution.
Talk to your co-workers: Whether you are coming back to the office or will continue to work from home, there’s a lot to discuss as we enter this next phase of COVID-19. Share what you need and listen to what your colleagues need as well.
Talk to your family: What you need this summer might be different from what they need. There doesn’t have to be winners and losers in this conversation. Discuss how to move forward so everyone can get what they need, at least some of the time.
Engage your core
It might feel like your family can’t have a routine this summer or that your team at work can’t take on new projects because it’s still not certain what the next year is going to bring. Or it might feel like you are paralyzed by how to have a positive impact on the civil unrest and injustice.
If it feels like you don’t know how to move forward, it’s time to engage your core.
- When you notice you’re focusing on what can’t happen, Pause. Take a breath and acknowledge what you’re feeling.
- Then Think. What could our summer look like this year? What work is possible given the unprecedented challenges? How can I get my needs met? The answers might not come right away. In fact, that’s the point with thoughtful questions. You have to THINK!
- After you have explored all of the options and created new awareness, choose to Act and take the steps necessary to get your needs met.
You control what you do
There are no right or wrong answers here when it comes to what you need. You can’t make other people give you what you need, but you are always in control of what you choose to do to help get your needs met.
Even though this summer is full of new and unexpected challenges, let it be the one where you give yourself what you need.
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